Heart Murmur In Dogs: Symptoms, Treatments & Life Expectancy Of Dogs

November 16, 2010 | Dog Health | Leave a Comment |

When a dog’s heartbeat doesn’t sound the way it should, chances are the dog has heart murmur. This abnormal heart sound is caused by turbulent blood flow into, through and out of the heart. In some dogs, heart murmurs do not pose a significant health problem. In others, heart murmurs can be a sign of cardiac problems and warrants closer inspection.

Symptoms of Heart Murmur in Dogs

  • Heart murmur is often observed in younger dogs.
  • Rather than the short, quick thumps of a dog’s heartbeat, murmurs produce long, soft sounds.
  • Heart murmurs in dogs with associated cardiac problems may manifest symptoms such as coughing, bluish tongue or gums, fainting, poor exercise ability, and labored breathing.
  • If a heart murmur is observed and serious health implications suspected, the dog should be submitted for a check-up by the veterinarian.

Surgical Treatment of Heart Murmurs in Canines

  • Heart murmurs are often caused by leakage in the valves present in the heart.
  • Valve problems may be treated with oral medications.
  • Valve problems that pose a threat to the dog’s health may warrant the need for surgery.
  • In surgery, problems causing the heart murmurs are repaired such as leaking, defective, or prolapsed valves.

Life Expectancy of Canines with Heart Murmurs

  • The prognosis of canines with heart murmurs depend on the grade of the murmurs assessed by the vet.
  • There are different grades of murmurs, from minor murmurs to serious murmurs.
  • The lower the grade, the higher the prognosis.
  • Life expectancy of dogs with heart murmurs also increases when the cause of heart murmurs is treated.
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Heart Problems In Dogs

  • Heart problems affect about 15% of the total dog population. This is not accurate because there are still many pet owners who don’t bring their dogs to a vet. Instead, they try to treat their pets as they think these furry ones should be treated. The problem with this is that the owner does not have the proper knowledge to diagnose the problem correctly. Thus, the dog may be treated for an ailment it does not have.
  • In dealing with heart problems, it is important to understand that this can be a life threatening condition. As with humans, the dogs can have a heart attack and die. Read more on symptoms for retaining fluid in canines

Heart Problems In Dogs Symptoms

So, what are the signs to look out for?

  • Coughing might seem to be innocent but it could actually be a sign of heart problems. When the heart is enlarged, fluid begins to enter the lungs and presses the wind pipe. The natural reaction for this is for the dog to cough.
  • Rapid or shallow breathing could also be a sign of heart disease. The heart will have a difficult time pumping blood; thus, breathing is also affected.
  • The pet becomes tired easily or is always tired.
  • It is also possible that the pet will have bluish or pale gums and a rapid or very weak pulse.
  • Sometimes, the pet may have an enlarged stomach or abdominal bloat.

Common Heart Problems In Dogs

  • Congestive heart failure.
  • Canine heart murmur.
  • Heart valve disease.
  • Cardiomyopathy.

Treatment Options

  • Diuretics will rid the body, especially the chest and abdomen, of excess fluids.
  • Other medication that could temporarily cure the problem.
  • The administration of oxygen to pets with breathing difficulties.
  • Physical removal of fluids in the chest and abdomen. Surgery to correct the problem.

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